"A distribution version is required" when running benchmark-only

I'm trying to benchmark elastic cluster that is running in docker. The command I issue is

esrally --track=pmc --target-hosts=host1,host2,host3 --pipeline=benchmark-only

I'm under the impression that distribution-version should not be supplied for benchmarking existing cluster. Any insights would be helpful, thanks.

5260 2019-11-12 18:20:22,72 ActorAddr-(T|:49774)/PID:33153 esrally.actor INFO BenchmarkActor received unknown message [ActorExitRequest] (ignori     ng).
5261 2019-11-12 18:20:25,73 -not-actor-/PID:33146 esrally.rally INFO Attempting to shutdown internal actor system.
5262 2019-11-12 18:20:25,76 -not-actor-/PID:33152 root INFO ActorSystem Logging Shutdown
5263 2019-11-12 18:20:25,98 -not-actor-/PID:33146 esrally.rally INFO Actor system is still running. Waiting...
5264 2019-11-12 18:20:25,98 -not-actor-/PID:33151 root INFO ---- Actor System shutdown
5265 2019-11-12 18:20:26,103 -not-actor-/PID:33146 esrally.rally INFO Shutdown completed.
5266 2019-11-12 18:20:26,103 -not-actor-/PID:33146 esrally.rally ERROR Cannot run subcommand [race].
5267 Traceback (most recent call last):
5268   File "/anaconda3/envs/header/lib/python3.7/site-packages/esrally/rally.py", line 515, in dispatch_sub_command
5269     race(cfg)
5270   File "/anaconda3/envs/header/lib/python3.7/site-packages/esrally/rally.py", line 433, in race
5271     with_actor_system(lambda c: racecontrol.run(c), cfg)
5272   File "/anaconda3/envs/header/lib/python3.7/site-packages/esrally/rally.py", line 461, in with_actor_system
5273     runnable(cfg)
5274   File "/anaconda3/envs/header/lib/python3.7/site-packages/esrally/rally.py", line 433, in <lambda>
5275     with_actor_system(lambda c: racecontrol.run(c), cfg)
5276   File "/anaconda3/envs/header/lib/python3.7/site-packages/esrally/racecontrol.py", line 369, in run
5277     raise e
5278   File "/anaconda3/envs/header/lib/python3.7/site-packages/esrally/racecontrol.py", line 366, in run
5279     pipeline(cfg)
5280   File "/anaconda3/envs/header/lib/python3.7/site-packages/esrally/racecontrol.py", line 78, in __call__
5281     self.target(cfg)
5282   File "/anaconda3/envs/header/lib/python3.7/site-packages/esrally/racecontrol.py", line 302, in benchmark_only
5283     return race(cfg, external=True)
5284   File "/anaconda3/envs/header/lib/python3.7/site-packages/esrally/racecontrol.py", line 254, in race
5285     raise exceptions.RallyError(result.message, result.cause)
5286 esrally.exceptions.RallyError: ("Error in race control (('A distribution version is required. Please specify it with --distribution-version     .', None))", None)

Hi Maxwell,
This error is actually given when Rally cannot determine the version of the cluster, likely due to a connection problem. You might want to double-check hostnames and ports in your target-hosts list.

I've opened an issue to address the misleading error message here: https://github.com/elastic/rally/issues/813

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